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posted by martyb on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the future-plan:-why-not-both? dept.

Exclusive: AT&T considers cellphone plans subsidized by ads:

(Reuters) - AT&T Inc T.N is considering offering wireless phone plans partially subsidized by advertising as soon as a year from now, Chief Executive John Stankey said in an interview on Tuesday.

[...] The consideration, which has not been previously disclosed, underscores AT&T's commitment to the advertising business as the U.S. phone carrier reviews its portfolio to identify assets to sell in order to reduce its debt load. AT&T is considering selling its advertising-technology unit Xandr, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

"I believe there's a segment of our customer base where given a choice, they would take some load of advertising for a $5 or $10 reduction in their mobile bill," Stankey said.

Various companies including Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O, Virgin Mobile USA and Sprint's Boost Mobile have tested advertising supported phone services since the early 2000s but they have not caught on. AT&T is hoping that better advertising targeting could revive the idea.

The planned launch of an ad-supported version of AT&T's video-streaming service HBO Max next year will serve as a "foundational element" that will provide new advertising inventory, and would be key to new phone plans supported by ads, Stankey said without offering details.

[...] AT&T engineers are creating "unified customer identifiers," Stankey said. Such technology would allow marketers to identify users across multiple devices and serve them relevant advertising.


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  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by fakefuck39 on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:10PM (1 child)

    by fakefuck39 (6620) on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:10PM (#1054084)

    fist post

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:21PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:21PM (#1054138) Homepage Journal

      A frosty piss post is the perfect place to put this, thank you very much.

      AT&T board of directors had a meeting, with the subject, "How can we make our products suck more?" This idea came from that meeting.

      --
      "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:11PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:11PM (#1054085)

    Ah I played this game before with cable TV.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:28PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:28PM (#1054090)

      Hell No.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @07:51PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @07:51PM (#1054607)

      It's what happens when most of the companies keep merging and there is less competition. Prices go up, ads go up, and service quality goes down.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by fakefuck39 on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:28PM

    by fakefuck39 (6620) on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:28PM (#1054091)

    this is a bunch of uninformed management making decisions again. People who go with att/verizon are the premium market - people willing to pay extra to have access to worldwide service and lots of local well-staffed stores.

    the people trying to save $10 are already saving $20 by going with secondary providers like metropcs/boost, who use the verizon/att/tmobile infrastructure.

    what this is, is the major provider trying to destroy that secondary market on their infrastructure. the question is, who the hell in their right mind would think "att +ads is better than the cheaper ad-free Consumer Cellular plan."

    shit... I bet this is going to take off. there are a lot of retards out there.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by looorg on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:30PM (9 children)

    by looorg (578) on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:30PM (#1054092)

    So how will this work? Are they playing the ads before they connect your call or after or will they inject ads into the stream -- we interrupt your call now to bring you a message from out sponsors ... ?

    Somehow I suspect this will be annoying as hell, and not worth a $5 discount on the phone bill. Just look at how this went with TV. They started out by having ads before and after shows, then eventually they started to chop the shows into smaller and smaller segments until shows just became a delivery mechanism for the ads. Most "half-hour-shows" are now just 20ish minutes, the "hour" long shows are just 40-45 minutes. The rest was/is ads and promotions for other shows.

    I don't think that will work for phone calls.

    If they play some ads before the call is connected then people will just dial the number, put the phone away for 20-30 seconds and then pick it up after. I doubt people will actually listen to the message.

    • (Score: 3, TouchĂ©) by c0lo on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:11PM

      by c0lo (156) on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:11PM (#1054126) Journal

      until shows just became a delivery mechanism for the ads

      You mean: "until the show occasionally interrupts the stream of ads".

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by Zinnia Zirconium on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:12PM (1 child)

      by Zinnia Zirconium (11163) on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:12PM (#1054129) Homepage Journal

      Will it be done again like it was done before?

      Faxes, Email, Voicemail... Free [cbsnews.com]

      General Magic has rolled out a service it calls myTalk. You call a toll free number, punch in your code and… (sound) You can even record a reply that will be sent back as a voice file. General Magic President Steve Markman says all users have to do is put up with what amount to short commercials.

      "So, literally when you dial in, every 45 seconds or so, you may hear an audio ad and after the audio ad you can process as many emails as you can until the next audio ad is displayed for you."

      More Net Freebies.... myTalk.com [cbsnews.com]

      What's the catch? What else? Short targeted commercials. In addition to voicemail and email, you can also use the MyTalk service to make short phone calls...anywhere in the country for free.

      1999 was the time of The Matrix. There were payphones and landlines back then.

      • (Score: 2) by looorg on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:57PM

        by looorg (578) on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:57PM (#1054150)

        I guess the main thing that has happened then in the last 20ish years is that now AT&T, or whomever decides to run this service, will probably have an AI analyze the conversation/call and tailor the ads to the conversation.

        Bootycall detected -- playing ads for condoms, cheap hotel rooms that rent by the hour, pregnancy and std-tests ...

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Monday September 21 2020, @12:53AM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 21 2020, @12:53AM (#1054163) Homepage Journal

      I seem to vaguely recall that commercials were every half hour, when I was very small. That is, Mickey Mouse and Romper Room and Captain Kangaroo would run approximately 30 minutes without interruption. At the half hour, there would be from 3 to 5 commercials, which no one cared about, because we were running to the bathroom, or fetching drinks.

      Then, commercials went to every quarter hour. If memory serves me correctly, you still had 3 to 5 commercials on the half hour, but only 1 or 2 shorter commercials at the quarter hour.

      By the time I reached junior high school, commercial time had grown longer, but still sort of sticking to the quarter hour schedule. There was no longer any difference between the 1/2 hour and 1/4 hour commercials.

      So, not later than 1971, commercials had become intrusive and onerous. By that time, a one hour show was serving up less than 45 minutes of "entertainment". Of course, by this time, I had already decided that most of the entertainment really wasn't entertaining. I much preferred to get outside, or curl up with a good book.

      --
      "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
    • (Score: 2) by toddestan on Monday September 21 2020, @02:57AM

      by toddestan (4982) on Monday September 21 2020, @02:57AM (#1054201)

      If I had to guess, the ads won't really affect the actual phone part, but instead will show up when you try to do smartphone-type things with the phone. Naturally, this also means you'll have to use their phone which be locked down like it's 2005. Depending on how they implement it, this may not be a bad deal for people who only use their phone as phone, but for those people who spend half the day staring at their phone they're going to see a lot of ads. Well, more ads than they already see.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @03:17AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @03:17AM (#1054211)

      AT&T engineers are creating "unified customer identifiers," Stankey said. Such technology would allow marketers to identify users across multiple devices and serve them relevant advertising.

      Time to break them up again.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @05:01AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @05:01AM (#1054243)

        Because Stanky his plans are.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @06:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @06:55PM (#1054575)

      probably just more spying and selling that data. now your family members will sell you out even more. makes everyone complicit. none to blame if everyone's doing it.

    • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Wednesday September 23 2020, @02:57AM

      by darkfeline (1030) on Wednesday September 23 2020, @02:57AM (#1055211) Homepage

      It'll be a godsend for cheaters. "Honey, that's just an ad from the phone company."

      --
      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:35PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:35PM (#1054094)

    Did Soylent break this Reuters story?

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:25PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:25PM (#1054140) Homepage Journal

      No, somehow the signal got through all the noise.

      --
      "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @01:16AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @01:16AM (#1054167)

      It means you have contracted dysentery, and autismo.

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:35PM (#1054095)

    I already read about it on the green site.

  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:54PM

    by MostCynical (2589) on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:54PM (#1054113) Journal

    So they will add advertising (likely on your lock screen, splash screen when you turn the phone on and off, and even inside sms messages), then they will add it to all services, then they will charge extra for an add-free service, (following Google's example, "add-free" will actually mean 'more targeted advertising, after you tell us even more about yourself).

    We are about to start the browser ad-blocking wars all over again, but on mobiles (see: windows 10 notifications and embedded advertising..)

    --
    "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:56PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:56PM (#1054116)

    If you buy service from AT&T, you are a moron.

    If you say that's the only service only available...

    Too bad. You live in a third-world shithole country.

  • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:01PM

    by fustakrakich (6150) on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:01PM (#1054121) Journal

    Money is replaceable, just call your broker

    --
    La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Mykl on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:17PM (4 children)

    by Mykl (1112) on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:17PM (#1054136)

    The only people who would be willing to subject themselves to ads on their phone calls are the people who are too poor to buy lots of stuff from the advertisers.

    • (Score: 2) by jasassin on Monday September 21 2020, @12:29AM (3 children)

      by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Monday September 21 2020, @12:29AM (#1054159) Homepage Journal

      The only people who would be willing to subject themselves to ads on their phone calls are the people who are too poor to buy lots of stuff from the advertisers

      Wow. I modded you insightful.

      I didn't think of that, but it's so true. Ads to people that are willing to put up with ads to save ten dollars a month. What a lose lose win.

      The advertisers are losing because the target audience is poor. The target audience saves 10 bucks but has to suck ads all month, and AT&T laughs all the way to the bank.

      The advertisers should avoid this like Covid-19, but the more money the shitty advertisers waste is a few pennies less spent on web advertisements so I guess that's something.

      --
      jasassin@gmail.com GPG Key ID: 0x663EB663D1E7F223
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @01:05AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @01:05AM (#1054164)

        One guy I knew made like 200k a year. He probably would have got something like this. Massively cheapo. He tried to figure out how to get a car without a radio to save 20 bucks. Would dumpster dive for anything. Someone else I worked with put it perfectly 'he probably still has his first communion money'. Wickedly smart and could fix just about anything. But oddly cheap. He would do it but he also would not buy anything from the ad either.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by vux984 on Monday September 21 2020, @01:22AM (1 child)

        by vux984 (5045) on Monday September 21 2020, @01:22AM (#1054170)

        So it would be ads for services poor people shouldn't use but do.

        - Fast food/processed food
        - Payday loans / credit services
        - Facebook games with microtransactions
        - lotteries
        ...

        • (Score: 2) by jasassin on Monday September 21 2020, @03:07AM

          by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Monday September 21 2020, @03:07AM (#1054205) Homepage Journal

          So it would be ads for services poor people shouldn't use but do.

          - Fast food/processed food
          - Payday loans / credit services
          - Facebook games with microtransactions
          - lotteries
          ...

          Modded touche, but perhaps insightful.

          Sad, but true. Sigh.

          --
          jasassin@gmail.com GPG Key ID: 0x663EB663D1E7F223
  • (Score: 2) by Zinnia Zirconium on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:24PM (2 children)

    by Zinnia Zirconium (11163) on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:24PM (#1054139) Homepage Journal

    I might consider switching.

    I don't like phones and I almost never make calls and I'm too lazy to figure out how to make calls for free. So I actually pay for phone service and cheaper service would be nice. Since I almost never use my phone most of the calls I get are advertising already.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by requerdanos on Monday September 21 2020, @12:52AM (1 child)

      by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 21 2020, @12:52AM (#1054162) Journal

      If you use AT&T and want to keep using their network, and your choices are to save five dollars with "Switch to advertisement explosion edition" or save $15 or $20 with a cheaper provider such as H2O [h2owireless.com] or Net10 [net10wireless.com] that provides service over AT&T's network, then I would encourage you to choose the lower cost option, not the "more advertisements" option.

  • (Score: 2) by EJ on Monday September 21 2020, @01:38AM

    by EJ (2452) on Monday September 21 2020, @01:38AM (#1054173)

    Did someone watch or read a bunch of dystopian Sci-Fi, and think it was a book of suggestions?

  • (Score: 2) by sonamchauhan on Monday September 21 2020, @03:15AM

    by sonamchauhan (6546) on Monday September 21 2020, @03:15AM (#1054208)

    I thought AT&T was in the communications business, and its bills were paid by subscribers.

  • (Score: 2) by mendax on Monday September 21 2020, @04:06AM (2 children)

    by mendax (2840) on Monday September 21 2020, @04:06AM (#1054227)

    My housemate installed some malware onto his phone that turned it into an ad-viewing machine. You couldn't do anything with it without waiting for some commercial to complete. If this is the kind of advertising AT&T wants then I want nothing to do with it. I can imagine having to wait for an ad to complete before making a 911 call.

    --
    It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
    • (Score: 4, Funny) by EJ on Monday September 21 2020, @04:22AM (1 child)

      by EJ (2452) on Monday September 21 2020, @04:22AM (#1054234)

      No. You pick up the phone, dial 911, then get "We'll connect you to 911 after these brief messages..."

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @05:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21 2020, @05:09AM (#1054245)

        And since it is targeted advertising, it will be one of those smarmy "Have you been in an accident?" lawyer ads . . .

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